NZ 'sea monster' carcass whips up overseas media
British media are in a frenzy over the rotting corpse of a "sea monster", which washed ashore on a beach east of Tauranga.
The decaying carcass of what is actually thought to be an orca or killer whale, washed up on Pukehina Beach in stormy weather late last month.
A Pukehina Beach resident, with the YouTube profile Elizabeth Ann, filmed the creature and posted the video (below) asking for any ideas of what it was.
"It has a huge head and teeth with rudimentary flippers," she said.
"It seems about nine metres in length but the lower part of the body is probably mainly entrails from an attack." The video has gained more than 600,000 views, which could largely be due to the British media who have labelled the creature a "prehistoric sea monster".
"A close-up of the creature's gaping mouth shows its fearsome jagged teeth," wrote the Daily Mail.
The Telegraph said expert opinions that it was most likely a killer whale had failed to quash the sea monster theory, while tabloid The Sun speculated the "beast from the deep" could be a a killer whale, a "saltwater crocodile, giant moray eel, some sort of dolphin, or something more prehistoric".
International science journal Nature World News said creatures that washed up on the shore were often badly decomposed, so much so that they bore no resemblance to any known animals.
The Discovery Channel said New Zealand was one of the most common places in the world, along with Newfoundland, Canada and Florida, for such "sea monsters" to appear.
Photos of the carcass had been sent to both the Department of Conservation and Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium for analysis, but marine mammal expert Anton van Helden has told media that based on its fins, it was most likely to be an orca.
Orca can be found in almost every ocean and there are many which swim the coastlines of New Zealand.
The remains have since washed out to sea.